Breakfast Quinoa

 

This dish is SO DARN GOOD! I cannot get over how amazing it tasted. Sweet but hearty,and a little nutty all at once. I am IN LOVE with this. Make it. You won’t be disappointed.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 tsp. Truvia

1 cup quinoa:soak for 10 minutes first,then rinse in strainer.

2 cups pitted quartered cherries

2 tablespoons TOASTED sliced or slivered almonds (or nut of choice)

1 tablespoon Chia Seeds

1 mashed up banana

Dash of cinnamon when served,and a dollop of pure maple syrup or agave if you wish.

Directions:

Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa,cover,reduce to a low simmer,and cook 15-25 minutes. Quinoa is done when most of the liquid is soaked up -much like cooking rice.

While milk is coming to a boil,toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant,which should only take a few minutes.

Remove quinoa from heat,add in mashed banana,and chia seeds. Stir. Depending on consistency you prefer,you may want to add a dash more of almond milk.

Top with almonds and cherries;cinnamon and syrup and serve warm!

8 Points Plus Pizza

 

We like to eat pizza about once a week. Typically I use a small whole wheat pre baked crust I get at Golden Harvest. It’s only about 8-10 inches,and whole wheat so I figure it’s a lot better than other options. We split it,so it’s four small pieces. I guess at about 10 points for this.

Today though I bought La Tortilla Whole Wheat Wraps ( again at Golden Harvest),to use as a crust so I could count the points exactly. I wound up with an 8 point pizza! Not bad.

Ingredients:
1 La Tortilla Whole Wheat Wrap
1/4 cup pizza sauce
1/4 cup lower fat mozzarella
8 slices turkey pepperoni

Optional:garlic,spinach ( I mixed a clove of fresh pressed garlic in the sauce,and put the spinach piled on top )

Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes,be sure to check often! I took it out when the crust started getting brown in the edge. I imagine all ovens and pizza pans work different. I actually used a stone. It was tricky getting in and out,since the tortilla is so thin.

Be sure to check the points on your cheese and sauce,some may be more than others.

I ate it with a huge salad,and am feeling fairly satisfied! The “crust”was a little sad,but hey,it tasted like pizza,and that’s all I really needed.

Veggie,Cheesy,De-LITEFUL Lasagna!

 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion,chopped
2 garlic cloves,minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian diced tomatoes,drained
Optional:zucchini or squash diced
1/4 cup tomato sauce
5 basil leaves,chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup low fat mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons low fat Parmesan cheese

About 6 lasagna noodles,cooked. (I used spinach ones I got at the health food store)

2 tablespoons parsley for garnish at end (dried or fresh)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until softened,or longer if you want more carmalized:5-15 minutes. Add garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant,about one minute. Add in diced tomatoes,tomato sauce,basil,salt and pepper. Cook mixture until it thickens up a bit,around 5 minutes.

Cook noodles while browning onions as directed. (Big pot of boiling water)

Heat oven to 375

Layer sauce,noodles,cheese,sauce,noodles,cheese,sauce…Top with parm. Place in oven (uncovered) and bake for 35 minutes (until things start bubbling up hot!)

Douse with parsley.

Serve.

This made us dinner for TWO nights – a great big HUGE hunk,too. When I put the recipe into WW Points Plus,it came to 7pts for each serving (serves 4).

Recipe:Apple Cinnamon Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats

 

Let me tell you the many ways I love Steel Cut Oats! They are amazing. If you don’t know what they are…here we go. They are the original,un-processed form of OATMEAL. Instead of being rolled,crushed,flattened and dried,they are beautiful little nuggets. And because they are less-processed,they stay with you longer! Now,I have never really loved oatmeal. Sure,give me a packet of Quaker Instant Oats with Maple/Brown Sugar (and add a scoop of brown sugar..),and I’ll gobble it down. But,I may as well have eaten a Snickers bar,really. Steel Cut Oats now,these are entirely different. They have FLAVOR and TEXTURE! I love their nuttiness,and the nice little nugget they are.

Lately I have been making a pot of SCO each Sunday,and packing up portions for the morning. Works great. But,I found this recipe for using the Slow Cooker I couldnt pass up. I was running out of time in the evening to make a pot,so this was perfect,and really –tons faster and easier!

So,here we go….

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 Apples of your choice. Cored,and chopped up into 1/2ish chunks. About 3 cups worth. You can peel also,if you wish. This is the part that takes the longest of this whole receipe.

2 cups Milk –use any kind of milk here you want. Skim,whole,almond,coconut…Personally,I used coconut because I had an overabundance of it.

2 cups water.

2 packets of Truvia,or similar sugar substitue (stevia based) –or,if you are wild &crazy,use 2 TB brown sugar.

1 TB Chia seeds. OK,this is optional. But I really love my chia seeds.

1/2 tsp Cinammon (or more!)

1/4 tsp salt (or less!)

1 cup uncooked steel cut oats!

p.s. I added 1 mashed up banana. Optional.

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all of the above into a bowl.

Spray your crock pot with cooking spray. This is Very Important. You will probably still have some sticking,but it helps.

Toss everything into crock pot.

Cover &cook on low for 7 hours.

Awakend to a wonderful breakfast made just for you! I typically top with some nuts and maybe an extra splash of milk.

I portion out the oats into about 1 cup portions and toss in the fridge. Then in the morning the rest of the week –a little splash of milk and a couple minutes in the micro and I have a wonderful,totally healthy breakfast.

TRY IT!

P90X2 Review:X2 Total Body

 

Today I tried out P90X2′s “total body”. I have to say….I really liked it.

This is the first one that felt like good old P90X! Not come crazy,trying to top the original with wacky moves and fist pumping. I enjoyed it. The hour went by quickly.

It is two rounds of the same moves,that involve a lot of push ups,pull ups,curls,and various other moves that all felt familiar and good. What I liked best was all the new balance incorporated into it. It seemed like almost all of them had balance involved.

There were a few moves that in all honesty,we’re just pointless and no way could I do them. So,I just modified and did regular pushups or pull ups.

And also,at this point,I am nearly entirely ignoring Tony’s warmup,and doing my own. I don’t care for the new warmup at all….so….modify!

So far my favorite of X2!

P90X2 Review:X2 Yoga

 

This morning I tried out X2 Yoga from the new P90X2. What better way to start the week!? Well,I can think of many better ways,but I wanted to see how it was. I always did love the challenge of Yoga in the original P90X,though I hated it entirely.

Happy to discover the new version is only 66 minutes,rather than 90! Still too long for my tastes,but better anyway. It started out completely different,and I was sweating and cursing 15 minutes in! Good old Yoga…Mostly it was pretty good. It didn’t have all the balance moves in the original,which were my favorite,but it does have Crane. If only I could manage Crane for just one second! I can get both toes up for about half a second. There was a nice abs sequence,and some tough work in the legs. The end was a lot of stretching.

I think I’ll keep at it. I would like to get back to being able to do all that downward dog. Right now it kills my shoulders,but I did my best –so I’m kinda anxious to see improvement.

Key West Adventure

 

We recently visited Key West,Florida for the first time. We had always wanted to,but never made the commitment. The timing was finally right so we made plans to visit three days and two nights after Christmas. Be warned:this is a peak season,and we in fact,had a difficult time finding accommodations. There are tons of places to stay,but 75% were booked full. Plus,rates are higher.

We opted to take the Key West Express from Ft. Meyers Beach. This was about an hour and a half drive from Sarasota. It departed at 8 am,and boarding started at 7,so we were up and on the road by 5:30 am! Price was $134 round trip per person and it is surely worth it. Only 3.5 hours on a deluxe catamaran with TV,a bar and restaurant! We napped,had coffee and a snack,watched a movie and were there in no time.

We hopped off the boat at about 12:30,and walked two short blocks from the harbor to our motel,Aubry Court. It is a “historic inn”…About five blocks off Duvall Street,which is where everything is at basically. We wanted a bit off the action for more quiet at night ( which didnt work out so well in the end…) Room was small,but had a nice TV,a small refrigerator,and a decent bathroom so it worked for us. But,it was a little close to a main road,and the air conditioner sounded like a freight train. They had a small continental breakfast which was nice,though we didn’t use it much. They checked us into a room no problem early,and when we left,they held our bags for several hours until our boat left,which was a nice bonus. So,50/50…

We then proceeded to walk to the harbor,along all the shops,and kept walking when we hit Duvall Street….which went on and on and on….We snagged an amazing lunch of fish tacos like I’ve never had before! They were the equivalent to gourmet fish tacos,amazing. We had some key lime pie,bought sweatshirts due to the cool weather,and five hours later realized we better head home. Unfortunately,it was more difficult than we thought,and finally wound up back at Aubry Court,exhausted,with blisters…. But we showered,changed clothes,and persevered onto more walking to dinner!

Dinner was outstanding. I had researched this place prior,and it was worth it. It was called the Rooftop Cafe. The quality,atmosphere,service and food were top notch with beautiful plating. We loved everything,and the prices were lower than you would expect!

We managed to drag ourselves back to the motel and crash,incoherent…there may have been some buy one get one free drinks on the way home. :-) Dark &Stormies are popular there –rum with ginger beer. Yum!

Day two brought Cuban coffees,pastries,and snorkeling. We also caught an impromptu lunch that included an unbelievable beet salad,one of my favorites. Snorkeling was with about 6 other people and was a great time. The reef isn’t outstanding,but we saw lots of fish,and the best was finding a small sea turtle! Never seen one actually IN the water! It was a little freaky,too,as there were a bunch of jellyfish around. They were mostly harmless,but freaky nonetheless. Kevin kept playing with them,go figure.

For dinner,we didn’t have a place picked,so wandered around until we found a relatively quiet,upscale spot. Turned out really well! I think it was at the Hyatt,of all places. Excellent meal,if a bit pricey. We tried to hit the extremely dessert place,called,Better Than Sex…but at 830 at night it was booked until 1130! Should have called and made reservations…who would have thought? Instead,we had some outstanding gelato! There was more key lime pie somewhere,too…We wound up crashing pretty early,as the snorkeling did me in. We hopped one of the bike/cart deals,and although the 10 minutes home cost $20,it was worth it.

Day three….more Cuban coffee and pastries…And we widened up and took the trolley tour around the town. It was fun,and really interesting. Plus,it enabled us to get to the further areas of the island! We checked out all the tourist destinations,including The Southernmost Point,and. It’s cometary,along with others. We had a surprisingly GREAT lunch at a place called Mangoes. Totally unexpected,and amazing. HUGE servings! Great sandwiches. Oh,and let’s not forget key lime pie,dipped in Chocolate…on a stick. Yep. And yes,it’s delicious.

We hopped back on the Key West Express at 5pm,and made it back to Siesta Key around 11. It was a long day overall,but fun,and again,we crashed! And slept in until 9 the next morning which is a miracle for us!

What a fun time! I’d love to go back sometime off season,to get a better feel for things. I loved all the outdoor eating and people watching. I’d definitely bring my walking shoes though…that is most important,given the amount of walking one can do. You can rent bikes or scooters,too. There is certainly a lot to do here,and I’d like to be there for one of their big festivals to watch the crazy people.

P90X2 Review:X2 Core

 

Today was my first time doing the 1st video in the P90X2 series:X2 Core.

Again,like with Plyocide,there was the HUGE,extended stretch thing going on that lasted for about 20 minutes! I can’t deal with that. All this stuff with the new fangled “foam rollers”is garbage,personally. Maybe it works for some but to me it just seems like a huge waste of time. I dont have 20 minutes in the morning to waste stretching! Also they use one of those big blow up balls for stretches too,which is also irritating me. I dont see the point. Just trying to make things “different”I guess and keep up with the times.

When the workout FINALLY got going I was un-impressed. Too much “Sphinx”moves and using the medicine balls (which I dont have and am not going to buy…I just do the moves without,which is just fine!) There were some moves I enjoyed and found challenging,and not just some crazy wacky new way to try to twist and turn my body. Very few though. It really wasn’t motivating me at all. I dont know if it is because well,it isnt all that…or if I am just not as interested as I am doing it alone now. I was again thinking I’d rather just get agonized by Shaun T’s Insanity workouts and burn some calories and be DONE. Now as it is,I’ll have to spend some time on the Elliptical tonight to make up for the lack of interest in “Core 2″…

Movie Review:The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

 

I am a Lisbeth Salandar fan! The books,the Swedish films,and now the US movie. She is such a great character –a person just can’t get enough. As such,I was really looking forward to the new movie. I tried hard not to have too high of expectations,because books that are made into movies rarely translate that well. Sometimes they are just OK,other times they just plain stink,and very few are great.

So with great trepidation,I went to the premier last night with a bunch of friends. Some had read the books,others had only seen the Swedish movies,and some hadn’t been introduced to Lisbeth at all! Poor things.

I was expecting masses of crowds,so I bought our tickets the day before,and got there an hour early to assure us good seats. Turns out only a handful of people in Rhinelander were up for a movie on a Tuesday evening,though! What happened to the days of Lord of the Rings,with huge crowds at midnight!? This was only 7:30…It was nice though,to not have to battle crowds,and annoying teenagers. There was quite an eclectic group at the movie though,that is for sure.

Unfortunately,the movie started with sound issues! We could barely hear the dialog,and as it was the beginning of the movie,that was pretty important. It took them about an hour to finally fix it. Highly annoying. Once we could finally hear,I started to enjoy it!

I think David Fincher and crew did a great job translating the book to a movie! There are always elements changed,and details removed,but what he did worked for me. I had no problems with any of the changes.

Some of the more difficult scenes in the movie were really hard to watch. Worse than the book I think. A book you can skim over….in the movie shutting your eyes is the only option but then there is the audio. If you have read the books you know what scenes I am talking about.

It’s hard to really judge a movie when it is from a book you love. But,for me,the movie was great,and it was just another Lisbeth fix for me! I can’t wait for more,and am seriously considering download the series to my Kindle for future reading enjoyment,even though I’ve read them already.

Go see it!
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P90X2 Review:Plyocide &Ab Ripper 2

 

Today I tried out Plyocide from X2! I thought it would be “suicide by plyometrics”. I was a little disappointed. The warm up and stretch are agonizingly LONG and boring. It’s like Tony is just trying to find new ways to stretch the same thing,so why make it so tough,long,and dull? I was also finding Tony a bit full of himself,not sure why now,as he’s probably the same in the original!

I almost shut it off,but kept going.

When the workout FINALLY started,it was ok. Lots of it reminded me of Insanity,and just altered moves from the original. I got an ok workout,nothing mind blowing though.

Then I put in X2 Ab Ripper. I enjoyed this more as a next level compared to Plyocide. Some good stuff and I can foresee myself utilizing it for sure. As a matter of fact,my abs are complaining right now!

Not sure yet what I’ll do with X2. I found myself really wishing I was doing Insanity instead…but I will surely give all of X2 a try,but maybe not hardcore. We will see! Perhaps the new year will give me motivation to go all X2 on myself!